quick look on Japanese history (4) Aduchi , Edo period

(9)Aduchi Momoyama period(1573-1603)

Diagram of restored Aduchi castle from WIKIPEDIA

There were three great heros during the age of civil wars who took the power in turn.

The first was Oda Nobunaga who won the rivalry between warlords. Above is the diagram of Aduchi castle which was built by Nobunaga for showing the authority, rather than for military purpose.

The second was Toyotomi Hideyoshi who was a retainer of Nobunaga and took the power after Nobunaga was defeated by another retainer.

After the unification of the nation, Hideyoshi aimed to conquest Ming dynasty in China and Mughal Empire in Indo, although the plan was abandoned by his death. Hideyoshi exchanged the letters and precious goods with Phillip second of Spain who was the ruler of the strongest kingdom at that time, namely the Age of Exploration.

Both of Nobunaga and Hideyoshi were out of the scale or a common sense of Japanese traditional society and were dramatic symbols who announced the beginning of modern Japanese history.

The Third was Tokugawa Ieyasu who opened the Tokugawa Shogunate. Nobunaga and Ieyasu came from small warlords while Hideyoshi came from a poor peasant. All of them represented the period characterized by enterprising inferiors overthrowing their conservative superiors.

(10) Edo period (1603-1868)

Nobunaga and Hideyoshi opened the door of modern time and Tokugawa Ieyasu established a renewed order and social stability. Ieyasu built the Shogunate in Edo 500 km east of Kyoto. The Emperor remained as the symbol of authority and stayed in Kyoto.

peaceful and sustainable sufficient economy

During 265 years’ Edo period, there was neither military invasion from outside nor to outer regions. Edo period was well ordered and utmost peaceful time both domestically and internationally.

There were around 250 provincial domains with around 30million population. Tokugawa Shogunate successfully united the nation and kept the superior power to abolish those domains if necessary, or replace provincial lords when it is required. The Shogunate strictly controlled a foreign trade and overseas travel, however they could import large amount of Asian goods and also European up-to-date publishes by utilizing abundant gold, silver and coppers.

Nevertheless they basically enjoyed self sufficient economy and a sustainable circulating society by connecting towns and farm villages systematically. They never produced any garbage.

Development of public arts

Edo city, one of the world biggest cities as that time, had one million population and well controlled by the town autonomy. People could travel around the nation safely and there was a record 5 million out of 30 million, national total population, made a pilgrimage in one year to Ise Jinngu which enshrined the founder of the Royal family.

Arts and literatures such as Kabuki, haiku, tea ceremony became more and more popular among public. Literacy rate in the end of Edo period was around 50% which was by far the highest in the world. Ukiyoe pictures were so sophisticated that they gave strong impact on European artistic circles.

Kabuki theater (kabukiza)